HEIDELBERG, GERMANY - Dr. Ellen Minette, Principal of Heidelberg Middle School in Heidelberg, Germany, has been selected as the 2007 National Principal of the Year for Middle School. The National Association of Secondary School Principals and the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company announced the selection Sept. 11.Dr. Minette's selection as the recipient of this prestigious award represents the first time that a Department of Defense Education Activity principal has been chosen as the national winner. She will be honored during an awards banquet on Oct. 14 in Washington, D.C.Dr. Minette received the news of her selection during a school assembly at Heidelberg Middle School today. NASSP Board President, Mr. Joseph Militello, made the surprise announcement. On hand to congratulate Dr. Minette was U.S. Army Europe Commander, General David D. McKiernan, and DoDDS-Europe Director, Diana J. Ohman.The Principal of the Year Program, which began in 1993, is sponsored by the NASSP and the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (MetLife) as a means to recognize outstanding middle level and high school principals. This program honors secondary school principals who have succeeded in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students and for their exemplary contributions to the profession.One middle/high school level principal is selected from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity. From these state winners, six finalists are selected (three middle level, three high school) to become eligible for the National Principal of the Year award.MetLife and NASSP will present each state winner with an award during their annual Principal's Institute and Awards Banquet held in Washington, D.C. The National Principals of the Year (one middle level, one high school) will receive a $5,000 grant and the four finalists will be awarded a $1,500 grant.Dr. Minette has worked tirelessly to provide an environment within which each student can succeed. "In a personalized school, more rigor can be expected of students. To add such rigor, I challenge the teachers to instill in each student a belief in one of my favorite mantras, 'What you are learning is important; you can do it; and I will never give up on you.' When children feel that the teacher and the school care about their learning, they respond," said Minette.Prior to becoming principal at Heidelberg High School, Dr. Minette served as Assistant Principal at Manheim Elementary and Middle Schools, at Heidelberg and Ludwigsburg Middle Schools, and at Patch High School in the DoDDS-E Bavaria District. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University in Long Beach, a Master of Education degree from Boston University, and Master and Doctorate degrees in Education from Columbia University Teachers College."Dr. Minette is an inspiration to all of us. Colleagues, students, and parents in military communities worldwide share in the joy and pride she must be feeling," said Dr. Joseph Tafoya, Director for DoDEA. "She is an outstanding professional in the field of education and embodies the DoDEA mission to provide, in military communities worldwide, exemplary educational programs that inspire and prepare all students for success in a global environment."